DUNGEON DEFENSE - DUNGEON DEFENSE Volume 2 - Chapter 2 – The Ethics of Monkey Hunting
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 9, Day 10
Kingdom of Sardinia, Pavia Slave Market
“Is two people all?”
“Yes. Myself and my wife.”
“Hm. We’ll accept 2 gold pieces for the escort fee.”
I passed 5 gold to the hired soldier and he grinned widely.
There was an unexpected charm overflowing from the smile of this mercenary who was lacking two front teeth.
“Thank you very much, your honor. Us mercenaries will protect you with our lives during your stay here. Please have an exciting day with your missus. Ooi, escort this couple to their spot! Make sure it’s of the highest class!”
Outskirts of Pavia.
Slave merchants had set up stalls throughout the open plains in this area.
To prevent thieves from pilfering, soldiers were strictly guarding the entire market. There were 5 platforms of various sizes, approximately 70 guards, and market stalls so grand that you’d mistake this place as a military camp if you looked from afar. Most bandits wouldn’t even dare to mess with this market.
“This way, your honor.”
Following the man’s guidance, we went to the center of the market.
Lapis Lazuli and I were pretending to be a young merchant couple. We had exquisitely forged our identification papers and names. With this, we wouldn’t have to worry about our actual identities being found out any time soon.
The slave market was overflowing with a shady and damp ambiance.
“Move it already! You damned dullards.”
“Snow elves here! Captured straight from the deep snowy mountains in the kingdom of Moscow. As a special occasion, I’ll be displaying them for free today. Please come and take a look!”
“I told you to walk more quickly!”
On one side, a guard was swinging a whip and forcing a group of slaves to move. A line of 6 male slaves were chained together and walked forward a little bit at a time. It felt like I was watching a caterpillar.
“Please look as much as you want. Looking is free!”
On another side, a naked elf was locked up behind iron bars. A sales promoter kept going on about how amazing his ‘product’ was while pointing at the elf’s breasts and ribs. There were many people gathered around the iron cage, and there were even kids among them. Little girls were sticking their heads through the bars and staring at the bare elf.
I could hear their conversation.
“Big sis, is it true that elves live off of only drinking dew?”
“Uhm, I don’t think she understands what we’re saying. I don’t know how to speak the language used in Moscow, too……”
“They say that elves drink the raw blood of kids every year. That’s why they stay pretty for a hundred and two hundred years.”
“You idiot! Don’t lie!”
The group of little girls giggled. The elf smiled softly as she watched the kids. When the children reached their hands out, the elf more than gladly put her arm out to let them touch her skin. Although the elf’s arm was thin and mostly bones, the little girls were making a commotion as if they were touching something like gold.
“These mischievous kids!”
The sales person lifted the children up while laughing heartily.
“You can’t touch the product thoughtlessly like that!”
I watched up to that point and turned away.
The sound of a whip lashing and a slave screaming could be heard in the distance, and yet no one in the market area paid it any mind. The only ones to pay attention to the screaming were the kids. Each time they heard a moan, the children would get excited and ask “Did you hear that? Did you hear that?”. Every time they heard a scream, they would echo the sound with their own voices shouting “Kaah!” “Kueeak!”.
Was it because of their innocence, perhaps?
“This is quite the splendid place. Are all slave markets like this?”
“Yes. There are not a lot of differences.”
Lapis Lazuli responded.
“The slave market that this one was indebted to for a short period of time, during this one’s childhood, had the same feeling as this.”
“What? You worked at a slave market before?”
“To be precise, this one did not work at a slave market, but wanted to become a slave instead. At the time, this one was incredibly famished. This one had thought that as long as this one was able to obtain a meal, then it would be fine to become a slave. Since slaves were at least fed.”
Lapis Lazuli spoke calmly.
“However, once the slave merchant found out that this one was a half-breed, he had chased this one out. Apparently, outcasts did not have the ‘right’ to become a product to be dealt in. Regardless, before this one’s identity was revealed, this one was able to eat half of a stale bread. It is a good memory.”
Lapis Lazuli’s past was so dark that it was scary……
Doing whatever I could to change the topic, I cleared my throat.
“The succubus that used to wander these market grounds is now the mistress of a Demon Lord. Is that not splendid, Lala? A person’s worth is not determined by their birth. You, who was able to overcome all kinds of unfavorable conditions, have the most beautiful value out of them all.”
Lapis Lazuli gave me a side glance.
“……Your highness sure does make surprising remarks occasionally.”
“It is nothing. Your highness had complimented that this one had succeeded, but that is woefully inadequate. Until your highness has become a true ruler of demons, until that moment is when this one’s success can be put up for debate.”
“You are quite the greedy woman.”
“That’s why I like you.”
“There is nothing for your highness to be flattering this one for.”
“I am not hoping for much. I would simply like it if there was more charm mixed in tonight’s affairs. In the first place, when we do ‘that’ your face is so stonelike that it’s rather fun to……”
Lapis Lazuli stepped on my right foot. The heel of her shoe was stabbing into the bridge of my foot so it hurt quite a lot, but in contrast, I felt delighted.
Yes. This was the same Lapis Lazuli as usual. The same Lapis Lazuli that was cool-headed, calm, and would react moderately to my teasing. Feeling a rare sense of relief from that, I unpacked my things at the quarters that the hired soldiers had guided us to.
That night, we had received an invitation to a banquet with the slave merchants.
It was worth giving that soldier 5 gold. The people on the market’s side had recognized us as VIPs and had given us an invitation.
I wonder if it was because the banquet was for slave merchants, but the gathering was rather extravagant. There were several guards standing as security and beautiful slaves were serving the food in the nude. I had soon mixed in with the group of merchants and chatted with them.
Alcohol went around appropriately. It was just the right amount for people to become intoxicated. During this sort of ambitious night, this was the most appropriate time to induce people into confessing their inner-thoughts. Now, shall we get down to the point……?
“This is the first time in my life seeing such a luxurious slave market. I have been to several slave markets in the past that were of a larger scale, but if you compared the quality of the products between here and there, they can’t possibly match with the excellence here. It is wonderful, everyone. I am truly moved.”
“Haha. You’re thinking too highly of us.”
The slave merchants laughed with bright red faces.
An enlivened mood flowed throughout the room. Everyone gave a favorable impression. For people who dealt in slaves, it was hard to believe how harmless these people appeared. Did they not even have the slightest amount of guilt for selling slaves?
Well, that was probably how the people of this current age were like. This wasn’t an issue that I should get involved with. Revolutions should be left in the hands of revolutionaries, and politics should be left in the hands of politicians. That was my creed. Albeit, there were many people who got these two jobs mixed up.
“There is something that I am slightly curious about, though.”
“What is it? Tell us.”
“Like how a single flower could overwhelm an entire ballroom of people, would there not be a slave with the highest value in this market as well? What does everyone here consider to be the flower of this market?”
The merchants looked at each after hearing my question.
Shortly after, they started to make a commotion.
“Of course, would it not be the snow elf that I captured from Moscow? I had to hire no less than 20 hunters just to catch that bugger. There is no doubt that my product is the best.”
“Pfft. Honestly, the elf trend is already over. These days, sirens and mermaids are the big thing. In that sense, the siren that I went through a lot of trouble getting my hands on……”
“Ha! How could some beast with wings cause any fuss? It’d be a doubtful if you could even get 20 gold off them. They may be a rare species and appropriate for livening up the atmosphere, but you can’t call them the leading star of the market. That’s for certain.”
“No, of course you should rate them higher based on their rarity. I’m actually thinking of putting out my ace in the hole and showcase a centaur. If it’s a horse than the noble ladies would……”
The argument on whose slave was better continued on.
After a while, a slave merchant pointed towards a young man and spoke.
“How about your side, Giacomo? I heard you really resolved yourself to prepare a product for this time.
“……It’s not as great as everyone else’s list of goods.”
The young man furrowed his brows as he responded.
He was the young man who had been silently drinking wine throughout the entire banquet. Although the other merchant was trying to bring attention to his slave, he had refused. Seeing the way his complexion had darkened, it appeared as if he was displeased about something.
“To say it’s nothing great! That’s quite modest of you!”
“That’s right, Giacomo. We aren’t deaf, we heard the rumors. We heard that you succeeded in obtaining the illegitimate child from a Duke’s family.”
The youngster made a bitter expression.
It seemed he was uncomfortable that the attention was focused onto him.
“……I was lucky. That is all.”
The man then tipped his wine glass.
I furtively curled the edges of my mouth as I stared at the young man.
I was certain that that man was the slave merchant who was in possession of Laura De Farnese.
Enduring my laziness to participate in this banquet was worth it. To be able to find my target so quickly. I was lucky.
Acting surprised, I raised my voice.
“Wait, everyone. The illegitimate child from a Duke’s family? What is that about? I’d like to hear more details.”
“I’m not sure, but that fellow, Giacomo, obtained quite the prize at such a young age. It’s that guy’s first time debuting in the slave market industry, but my God, he got his hands on a product that’s a big shot among big shots!”
“They say it’s the illegitimate child from Duke Farnese’s House.”
The merchants got excited and started to make a big fuss.
“A duke’s family. And not some small family, but the Farnese family! Naturally, their status did indeed drop to the rock bottom after losing in the last War of Roses, but still……”
“Well, it’s an open secret. They probably didn’t want to shift the responsibility for their defeat to one of their actual heirs. So they sold off their illegitimate daughter as a compromise. Although, this is merely in the field of speculations.”
“Wouldn’t that probably be the right guess? Other possibilities are impossible…… That missy was selected as a scapegoat for the family.”
Someone clicked their tongue.
“The ones that came out on top after the War of Roses are happy they got to dishonor the Farnese family, and the Farnese family is happy that they were able to lower their losses to a minimum.”
“If you look carefully, those noble folks are better at business than we are. Keke. Those people on top sure know their stuff.”
“Furthermore, they say that ‘that’ isn’t a joke.”
A merchant mentioned while chewing on a chicken leg.
I put a fascinated expression on my face.
“What do you mean by ‘that’?”
“That, I’m talking about that. Her face and body are just so……kuuh!”
The merchant laughed wickedly. Sticky brown sauce was smeared all over his fingers. The other merchants agreed enthusiastically.
“I heard that rumor too. That she was the confined princess of Farnese!”
“Yeah. That because she was a woman of peerless beauty, they were afraid that it would cause a disturbance in the kingdom. That’s why the duke purposely hid her away in the deepest part of the mansion so no one could see her.”
“Well, honestly, it’s probably a bunch of lies.”
The merchants shrugged.
“No matter how you looked at it, they probably hid her because they were ashamed…… But what does that matter? Just the mere fact that those kinds of rumors came attached with her is special. Rumors raise the value of the product, after all.”
“Mm. I guess that’s right. For starters, she’s from one of the most noble families in the kingdom……”
“The rumor that she was the most beautiful girl on the continent went around once.”
“And she’s at the ripe age of 16!”
The merchants broke out into laughter all together.
The only person unable to go along with the mood was the young man. He had maintained a stoic face.
“…… Please excuse my going first. Good night.”
The man stood from the table and casually walked out.
The other merchants wished him a good night as well, but the young man received it absently. It’d be hard to look at it as a positive behaviour. Once the youngster was gone, the other merchants immediately voiced their opinions.
“Isn’t he acting a bit arrogantly? We invited everyone of the same trade like this so we could get to know our colleagues better, but if he behaves like that……”
“He really has no manners. He’s just running wild while relying on his father’s reputation. All the young folk are like that these days.”
It seems the way young people behaved in this world and my original world was the same.
I put on a smile and stood up.
“I wish to look around the marketplace early in the morning, so I shall be returning to my quarters for the day as well. Everyone, please have a pleasant night.”
“Ooh. Sleep well.”
After receiving the farewells from the merchants, I made my way out of the banquet hall. After instructing Lala to go outside the marketplace and prepare for any situation, I chased after the young man by myself. Not having gone far, the sight of the young man walking through the marketplace by himself came into view.
“Sir Giacomo. Sir Giacomo!”
The youngster turned to look at me.
He had eyes that appeared as if he was looking at a suspicious person.
I put a broad smile on my face.
“Would you, perhaps, like to share a conversation with myself?”
Let’s soften up this novice.
▯Methoranum Peddler, Slaver Merchant, Giacomo Petrarch
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 9, Day 10
Kingdom of Sardinia, Pavia Slave Market
In one corner of the market area, I was drinking beer with a strange peddler.
It was weird. I couldn’t really remember how I ended up drinking like this. It sort of felt like I had been possessed. Well, there are days in your life where you just blank out……
“I’m only telling you this, Sir Giacomo.”
The strange man in front of me made a bitter smile.
“To tell you the truth, the very act of selling and buying slaves is discomforting for me. It feels like I’m doing a crime against humanity.”
“Is that so? I think so as well.”
I happily responded to his remark. This was it. It was because of this characteristic of this man, that naturally made us start drinking together. I wonder if it was a coincidence or pure luck, but the wavelength between the man in front of me and myself was surprisingly good.
“Originally, I didn’t want to be something like a slave dealer. However, my father pressured me into it. He said that if I wanted to become a veteran merchant quickly, then there was no better job than a slave dealer……”
“You have a good father. But, there are many things in the world that are more precious than becoming a veteran. It would have been nice if your father had realized that.”
“That’s what I’ve been saying!”
Oh dear, I unintentionally raised my voice.
But it wasn’t strange. It was the first time I had ever met a person who connected with me so well, and in the center of the slave market at that. Was this not quite the eccentric encounter?
“My father is too attached to money. Yes, a merchant’s job is to make money and transport goods. I don’t have a problem up to that point…… But, aren’t slaves people too? Be it humans, elves, or sirens…… to treat them like some exhibit……”
“I understand. Ah, I see your cup is empty. Here, have another glass.”
I gulped down the wine that the man poured me. I felt a very pleasant drunkenness rising. It seems I really needed a person that I could openly talk to. It felt like I was drinking more heavily than usual, but it was okay. This was within my acceptable range.
And thus, time flowed. Before I knew it, I found myself leading the man to the quarters on my platform. ……Huh, why did I bring him here?
“How marvelous. To refrain from putting chains on most of your slaves, that is quite the humane consideration you hold for them.”
The man looked on in admiration at the slaves on the wagons.
Aah, that’s right. I remembered now. He asked if he could take a look at my slaves and I had gladly accepted his request. Even though you aren’t allowed to bring guests into this area…… It shouldn’t be too much of a problem, right? This person wasn’t a simple guest, he was my friend.
Now that I think about it, what was his name again?
“The majority of people only talk about it but never try it themselves. You are different, Giacomo. You are truly treating your slaves with warmth. I can see that with my own eyes. It is splendid.”
“Ahaha, you’re exaggerating.”
Oh well, something like names weren’t important. The most important part when judging a person was by their personality. This man was okay to be trusted. He possessed a good personality.
“Except, I don’t think every single slave would be satisfied.”
What could he be talking about?
It may not be a boast, but in my opinion, there was no other merchant that showed concern for their slaves as much as I did. I regularly gave them two meals a day, and obviously, the slaves liked me as well. But to say that they weren’t satisfied……
“Oh dear, that was rude of me. I was simply thinking while in the slaves’ perspective.”
The man smiled softly.
“Before being captured by us, did these slaves not live a rather peaceful life? They must have been able to move around freely and live their lives to their desire. I felt that they’d most certainly still have some dissatisfaction even if they were to receive their meals on time.”
“Think in the slave’s perspective……”
It was surprising. I had never considered this before.
I’m a free man and they’re slaves. We were clearly different. There was no reason for me to be forcing my own thoughts onto them when they were completely different from myself. But I had regarded it like that……
That it was more than enough to treat them with just the slightest bit of consideration. To think in the slave’s perspective? Was that possible? Was that not an excessively idealistic way of thinking……?
“How is it actually?”
While I was receiving a shock from the man’s words, he threw a question at me.
I perked up in alarm. What were we talking about? I couldn’t remember the context of our conversation. My head felt dizzy since awhile ago.
“What is actually……?”
“I’m referring to Miss Farnese. Have you already forgotten?”
Farnese? Was he talking about Miss Laura De Farnese?
No, since that family was deprived of their noble peerage, I couldn’t call her by using that family name anymore. But I couldn’t clearly remember if we really did have that kind of conversation. Oh dear, I think I drank way too much.
The man calmly explained.
“Did I not ask if Miss Farnese was satisfied with her life as a slave? Once I did, you, Sir Giacomo, said that you would personally show her to me.”
“Ah. That’s right. That’s right…… I forgot for a second.”
I still didn’t feel certain while I was responding.
Miss Farnese was a valuable of the highest quality. In order to prevent thieves from stealing her, I had hidden her at the deepest part of my platform. Even if he was my friend, I couldn’t show it to him lightly. I was starting to regret it. How could I have made such an irresponsible promise……
The other party immediately noticed my complexion and spoke.
“I see. It seems you’re actually conflicted to show her to me.”
“No, the truth is.”
“It is fine. Please do not feel any pressure from this. I was merely suggesting this with a light heart. I was just curious as to how you truly handled your slaves, and how your slaves sincerely felt towards you.”
The man smiled bitterly and muttered.
“I am the one who should be apologizing. Due to my curiosity, I had ended up forcing Sir Giacomo into a delicate situation. Let us return to the pub.”
After seeing the man’s forlorn expression, an indescribable guilt built up in my chest. It was that. The other party had merely requested something of me while thinking of me as a friend. But what was I doing?
In the end, was I not treating him like a stranger? What made me different from those people at the banquet hall who whipped their slaves? I was the worst. If those merchants were the villains, then I was nothing more than a mere hypocrite.
“……No. Please wait. I shall guide you to where Miss Farnese is at.”
The man blinked his eyes in surprise.
“Is that truly okay?”
“Of course. There’s no problem if we’re to simply look and come back. Thankfully, Miss Farnese does not sleep at night, so it should be fine to visit now.”
“…… Sir Giacomo. If you feel any difficulty from my request, then you may refuse at any time.”
The man was giving me a worried look.
“It may have only been a few hours since we have met, Sir Giacomo, but I feel a friendship between us. I do not wish to burden a friend.”
I was moved by his consideration. I told him that it was okay, but the man was still being considerate of me and was trying to refuse. What was I possibly hesitating for in front of such a good-natured person!
A smile naturally formed on my lips; the touch of anxiety that remained in my chest had melted away like snow.
“No, it’s fine. I, myself, also want to hear Miss Farnese’s opinion. If anything, I’d like to request for you to come with me. If it’s possible for me to think while in the slaves’ position…… the things that I have been lacking up till now. I wish to discuss this with you.”
The man’s eyes widened.
Until eventually, he smiled. It was a very soft smile.
“Giacomo. You know how to respect others. That is a precious ability that comes from your heart. It’s not something just anyone can learn. I truly respect you.”
I was at a loss for words from his straightforward compliment.
Although I wasn’t able to say anything and my mouth was hanging agape, the man was simply smiling at me in silence. As if he was telling me that he understood everything about me…… No, it was as if he understood the amount of appreciation that I desired from the world, it was that kind of smile.
“Ah, well uh. You know.”
The man grinned.
“Go ahead, Sir Giacomo.”
“That is…… T-This way. Please follow me.”
Feeling embarrassed, words wouldn’t come out properly.
For some reason, I felt too shy to look him in the face. Yes, it was because I was drunk. My emotions were going on and off because of the intoxication. There was no meaning beyond that. None at all. Really.
My head slowly became dizzier. It was becoming harder to keep myself steady. Even if I tried to pass it on while regarding it as my imagination, my vision was throbbing too much. It was weird. I shouldn’t be this weak to alcohol.
“J-Just a little further.”
My words started to become strained. My consciousness quickly drifted away.
“Just a little bit more and the cell that the Miss is confined in……”
“It’s alright, Giacomo.”
The man lightly supported myself, who was swaying left and right.
Once I rested my head on the man’s body, all my strength left my body.
While my eyes started to close slowly, I could hear the man’s voice.
“It seems you drank a bit too much tonight. I shall take responsibility and carry Sir Giacomo back to your quarters. That’s why, please rest easy.”
A voice that sounded like a mother’s lullaby.
Feeling comfort from that, I closed my eyes.
Despite the fact that the inside of my head was all disorganized, there was one truth that I was certain of. I had gained a friendship that would last forever……
▯Weakest Demon Lord, Rank 71st, Dantalian
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 9, Day 10
Kingdom of Sardinia, Pavia Slave Market
Well then, that was a breeze.
I laid the young man down on the floor and smiled wryly.
“You shouldn’t trust a person like me so easily, friend.”
I had effortlessly conquered this youngster who appeared to be around 19 years old. I had merely complimented him moderately, but he got excited on his own and crossed over willingly. It was so easy that it was ridiculous. Was it thanks to my talent, or was it because this fellow was excessively pure as a merchant……?
Of course, the answer was because I was talented.
I knew that very well.
If I ever spoke modestly then it was simply because of etiquette.
Additionally, his affection went up by an outrageous amount.
We had only spent 2 hours drinking together, but his affection points had shot past the 10s, breached through the 20s, and lastly reached the 30s. And yet, Lapis Lazuli’s affection was still at 10. Why was it that I received more affection from men than I did women? It must be the end of the world.
After muttering the word under my breath, a hologram appeared before me.
A type of status window that only appeared if the affection was over 20.
Name: Giacomo Petrarch
Reputation: Previously Failed Scholar
Leadership: F Ο Might: F Ο Intelligence: E
Politics: F Ο Charm: C Ο Technique: F
Current Mental State: ‘Friend……’
What an adorable nature this is.
In a certain meaning, instead of a girl like Lapis Lazuli, whose intentions I couldn’t even begin to grasp, these kinds of people were considerably more complacent.
A type of person who did their best to respect others, despite being weak-minded and slightly naive.
Most people may ridicule these kinds of people as pushovers.
But at the very least, I didn’t.
If anything, I slightly envied them.
……Because I could never become like them.
“Just think of it as being caught up with a rotten person.”
I searched through Giacomo’s coat until I got my hands on a bunch of keys.
The keys made a metallic jingle as I took them out. The key to Laura De Farnese’s cell was most likely among these.
Stealing is wrong? That’s a given. I’m a bad person, so I did something like stealing normally.
I sold off something like guilt a long time ago.
As I lived my life, I came to the realization that the need to carry around something like that was non-existent.
I’m not sure what a masochist, who enjoyed receiving pain, would think. As a healthy and sensible sadist, I was out of the question.
Giacomo Petrich let out a sound while in his sleep.
Since I had laced his beer with rather strong sleeping pills, he was going to be snoring away like that for a while.
I patted Giacomo’s head.
“Sleep well. Laura De Farnese is an individual that is too much for someone as good-natured as you to handle. All you have to do is dream happily and leave her in my hands.”
“It’d be more beneficial for Laura De Farnese, for you, and for me. You did nothing wrong.”
I wonder if he was able to hear my words while unconscious.
Giacomo Petrich’s face slowly became relaxed.
The sound of deep breathing flowed from between his lips.
The sweet child has closed his eyes.
It was time for the utterly crooked individuals to skulk around like specters in the night.
Holding the keys in my hand, I walked forward. My destination soon came into view. Between two wooden wagons an iron cage resided.
The moonlight gently poured down.
Despite the iron bars being bathed under the moonlight, it did not shine but withdrew further into darkness instead. It was as if it repudiated anything on the outside from approaching it, even mere luminescence.
There was a separate thing that was being shined upon by the light. It was not the cage, but rather the girl who was trapped within.
The girl was wearing dirty rags similar to what a beggar would wear. It must have been several days since she was able to last wash, since there was dirt smeared over her skin here and there.
And then, the moon in the night sky was covered by clouds for a slight moment before reappearing once more. The moonlight descended again upon the girl’s skin making her shine brightly.
I unintentionally held my breath.
Whoever were to come, they would all be overwhelmed by this girl’s beauty.
However, the reason why I had my breath taken away from me for an instant was not because of this girl’s beauty. Something completely different had moved me emotionally.
—The slave girl was reading a book.
In the middle of this boundlessly dreary cage.
Using the moon as her only source of light.
With a thick book spread open on the floor before her, she silently turned the pages with her blistered hands.
There was something breathtaking about this extraordinary sight.
If one were to ask why, then it was because there was absolutely nothing that could get in her way.
This may have been my first time seeing her, but I immediately understood everything.
The disgrace and shame from having fallen from nobility and into slavery, the countless number of times people had beaten and hurled abuses at this girl, the despair and sorrow for being thrown away by her own parents. Miscellaneous emotions had absolutely no effect on her now.
She was already a completed human.
I approached the cage with loud steps.
Despite having purposely made my footsteps resound, the girl did not raise her head.
She simply stared down with no expression on her face.
Was she so focused on the book that she couldn’t hear any outside noise?
I stepped between the moon and girl.
A dark shadow loomed over her. Now, for the first time, the girl slowly raised her head to match my gaze, with eyes that lacked even the smallest amount of light.
Laura De Farnese.
The human to go against the hero and turn the continent into a sea of blood.
To the girl who was abandoned by her family and the world, I spoke.
“—My name is Dantalian, the rank 71st Demon Lord.”
Without any pretense.
Petty tricks didn’t work against people with these kinds of eyes.
Always straight and honest, that was the best persuasion method in this sort of situation.
“De Farnese. I came here in order to obtain you.”
“I am wealthy. Thus I can easily buy you at the slave auction whenever I please. My witches and military troops are lying in wait around this marketplace, thus taking you away by force is also fully a possibility.”
It was not a lie.
Around this time, Lapis Lazuli was most likely preparing to start an assault at the outskirts of the market. The Berbere Sisters were with her. My forces were waiting at a moment’s notice.
11 witches of the highest class, and 9 soldiers of the highest class.
The defenses of this slave market was comparatively sturdy, but it was still nothing more than 70 guards. Utilizing the witch’s firepower, we could easily turn them all into grilled meat. Snatching Laura De Farnese away and disappearing leisurely was not difficult.
If I were to give the order then it was simple.
“But I desire to be acknowledged by you.”
I wanted to leave those as a last resort.
“Not by wealth or by force. Purely person to person, I wish to be accepted by you. Please judge me with your dim eyes. Determine if I possess the caliber to take you in. Evaluate myself factually.”
“Can you allow me the opportunity to take your test?”
A stillness settled over us.
The girl gazed vacantly at me.
We didn’t avoid each other’s gaze. Until the third cloud had covered the moon, time flowed silently.
The girl moved her lips.
“—Stop blocking the moonlight and move aside.”
It was an inorganic voice.
Like a machine unnaturally trying to imitate a human’s voice.
Regardless, I nodded.
In this location, this girl had perfectly established her own kingdom. The book was her everything. Thus, the act of covering the light meant that I was invading her kingdom. I promptly complied to Miss Farnese’s request and stepped slightly to the side.
Miss Farnese nodded.
“I express my thanks. You are a gentle person.”
“Respecting another’s domain is a basic, after all. Even if you were to become my vassal, I shall always respect your will like I have done now.”
Miss Farnese tilted her head.
“Not claiming as a sex slave, but as a vassal instead?”
“That is so. If I wanted to treat you like a slave, then I would have bought you with gold or have undertaken action in a violent fashion. But I judged that wealth and power was not required to persuade you. Laura De Farnese. I purely wish to obtain you.”
“If that was a love confession just now, then this young lady would surely have been moved.”
Miss Farnese placed her hand on her chin.
Referentially, Laura De Farnese had spoken in 4 different languages. Sardinian, Habsburgian, Franconian, and Ancient Helasian. It wasn’t merely a simple conversation. She was testing me on how far I could keep up with her.
I easily passed her fundamental test. No matter where I was, if it involved languages then I couldn’t be brought down. If anything, I was rather self-confident that this was my specialty.
From this point on was the main event.
“I am honestly thankful for your offer. The only other remaining fate left for this young lady is most likely being sold off to some wealthy noble and living a life as a tool for sexual release.”
“Aah. That is correct.”
Due to the information that I was able to obtain in , I had a general outline of what Laura De Farnese’s destiny was. It should be fine to mention future events briefly here.
“The person to buy you in the auction will be Count Roswell from the Kingdom of Brittany. Publicly, he is praised as a man with a noble personality, but in truth, he is a sadistic pervert.”
Did I pique her curiosity? Miss Farnese showed an interested response. Although, her eyes were still dim.
“Tell me in more details.”
“With pleasure. Count Roswell considers locking up fallen nobles, like yourself, in his underground torture chamber as a joy in life. Because his preferences are so vast, he enjoys things from candle wax torture to amputation.”
“Amputation? What is that?”
“There are many types of perverts in the world, Miss De Farnese.”
I smiled gently.
“Among them, there are a type of people who gain carnal desires for women with their legs and arms cut off.”
I always felt satisfaction whenever I was able to reveal the cruel reality to a girl who was ignorant of the world. You could say that it felt like I was helping a bit in that child’s education.
I’m a friendly man, after all.
“If you were to be sold off to Count Roswell, then there is no doubt that you will be gang raped in a prison cell, where even sunlight cannot reach, for 10 years. If you are unlucky, then you may experience abortion several times as well.”
“That is indeed the worst individual to become a slave of. I can endure being tortured by candle wax, but this young lady does not think she could possibly manage having her limbs severed.”
“Is it because you will be unable to read books?”
“Yes. I’ll be unable to read books without my limbs.”
Miss Farnese answered seriously.
I had assumed she was this kind of girl.
“But, oh Demon Lord. It’s rather hard to believe that you’re planning to use this young lady for something other than a sex slave. As you can see, this young lady is quite beautiful. Even if you were to take myself in as a vassal, how could this young lady be certain that you won’t be captivated by this lady’s looks later on and violate her?”
It was a Missy who said nonsensical things as if it was natural.
Being slightly put off, I creased my brows.
“……You. Do you, perhaps, often hear from others that you’re very conceited?”
“Pardon me. I am simply evaluating my own beauty objectively. Throughout my life, 4 times from my own father, 11 times from my half-brothers, and 2 times from my half-sisters, this young lady had almost been raped by them. This lady’s beauty is most certainly out of the ordinary. It is quite unfortunate.”
“What? You were almost raped by your half-sisters?”
Even the Demon Lord was surprised by this.
Miss Farnese spoke bluntly.
“There are many types of perverts in the world, oh Demon Lord. Among them are women who feel carnal desire for people of the same-sex. Adding to that, there are also women who have an incestuous desire for people of the same blood.”
Her line had the exact same cadence as what I had said earlier while trying to show off. It was her counterattack to me for having behaved like a grown-up.
I unintentionally ended up admiring this girl’s wit.
“You do not have to compliment this young lady, since this young lady had come to terms with her own genius when she was 6 years old.”
“Oh, really? What a coincidence. The time I realized that I was a prodigy was at the age of 6 as well.”
“Mm, is that so? This young lady should add that she had become self-aware of her own superiority in intellect after having witnessed her siblings struggling to master a single geometry theorem even after the age of 10.”
“I became self-aware after seeing that my younger half-siblings were unable to learn even 2 languages by the age of 5.”
“Aah. It’s certainly difficult to understand why people struggle with foreign languages. Do you not naturally master a language after listening to it for half a year?”
“Precisely so. It’s something that I can’t understand.”
“Whenever this young lady sees a group of people confused about the simplest of truth, while this lady feels sadness and pity for them, at the same time this young lady feels more suspicion instead. How could they have possibly lived for this long with that kind of head? If this young lady was ever to be in their position, this young lady would have immediately killed herself.”
“The majority of people are born pitiful. It can’t be helped. There’s no other choice but for people like us to politely teach them what intelligence and etiquette are.”
“Oh Demon Lord. Is that not a tedious task?”
“It is incredibly tedious. However, despite everything, we are still a part of the community that resides on this world. Very occasionally, we need to know how to sacrifice ourselves for a good cause.”
“By ‘very occasionally’, do you mean once in a lifetime?”
“If it’s that much then that’s more than enough—”
I involuntarily got absorbed into the conversation.
The expression that I had put on for acting purposes had grown faint at some point.
The chemistry between myself and this girl was good beyond imagination.
“Oh, right. Furthermore, this young lady occasionally does not speak and goes into her own world for an entire week. If we are to spend time together, then please take this into account.”
“Ah, I too occasionally shut myself in my bed and refuse to come out for 4 days at a time. On those occasions, I do hope that you will respect my personal life.”
“Of course. Also, this young lady tends to play the violin very loudly. Additionally, there are times this young lady will be driven by her enthusiasm and begin to sing as well. So if you are to live with this young lady, then you must consider this as well.”
“Violins are the pleasure of life.”
I nodded my head earnestly.
“Oh, do you think so?”
“The melody from a harpsichord flows too stiffly, so it gives off a strong mechanical feeling. But do violins not express the intense vibrations of life? Music is vibrations, and nothing besides vibrations. An oboe is quite marvelous as well, but if you were to compare the two, then the violin would still be on top.”
“This young lady agrees entirely.”
We stared at each other.
I carefully opened my mouth.
“Say. I’m not sure if it’s a misunderstanding, but……”
“I’m not sure why, but it feels like you and I will be able to get along quite peacefully.”
“What a peculiar coincidence. This young lady shares the same opinion.”
“This may be abrupt, but I have a few questions. Who is the most intelligent person in the world?”
The girl promptly answered.
“Of course, it is the individuals, themselves.”
“What about a person who irresponsibly throws aside a promise and disregards others?”
“It’d only be appropriate to immediately cut off their limbs and sentence them to death.”
“When you see a person who is pure, what thought crosses your mind?”
“How they could possibly live life so foolishly, but at the same time, this young lady is also blinded by their pureness and can’t help but admit that they are a race more superior than this young lady.”
“What is love?”
“A suicidal act of ruin disguised as romance.”
“What is friendship?”
“The emotion that this young lady randomly grants people who do not bother her.”
“What is labour?”
“Proof that God does not exist in this world, and that it’d only be appropriate for it to be eradicated.”
The girl and I nodded at the same time.
You could readily say that it was a fateful nod.
“Miss De Farnese. I personally dislike a child-like body. I feel more sexual appeal from women with more robust breasts. So thankfully, the chances of myself being captivated by you is incredibly low.”
“Oh Demon Lord. This young lady prefers men who are well advanced in years, so at the very least 50, but if possible 60 years of age. This young lady detests men without any wrinkles. A man’s charm solely comes from their years of experience, thus, the chances of this young lady being seduced by you is very slim.”
We reached out our arms and grabbed each other’s hand tightly.
This had long ago transcended being compatible or not.
I was her other half, and she was my other half. We were born on the same planet, but due to the whim of the Gods, we were separated. Until finally, we were able to reunite with one another here today. There may have been an age difference between us, but that was no problem. A companion that shared the same ideology was something that overcame generations and age. The decalcomania soul of mine which I couldn’t find in my original world was now before me.
A sound effect rang and a notice window appeared.
[You’ve sincerely reached a communion with the other party.]
[Laura De Farnese’s affection went up by 15.]
In a single burst the affection points broke past 10.
It took no more than 150 days just to raise Lapis Lazuli’s affection up to 10, however it only took 15 minutes in Laura De Farnese’s case. What was with this difference in degree?
Lapis Lazuli was indeed a special case.
I used the key to unlock the cage while being pleased by my own competence.
With a clunk, the cage door opened. After undoing the metal collar around Miss Farnese’s neck, every problem was now beautifully taken care of.
“Mmm. This is refreshing.”
Miss Farnese walked out from the cage. She then spread her arms out towards the moon in the night sky. It appeared as if she was trying to measure how much of the sky she could capture into her arms.
Time flowed like that for a long time.
Shortly after, De Farnese turned her body towards me.
She lowered herself to one knee.
“As long as your lordship does not betray this young lady first, she shall follow your commands loyally. As long as your lordship respects this young lady, she shall devote her soul to you. Laura De Farnese. As the third daughter of the Duchy of Parma and the rightful heir of Piacenza, on this night, continental calendar 1505th year, 9th month, and 10th day, with all the Gods here as witness, hereby vow: If your lordship orders for this young lady to be your sword, then she shall become your sword. If ordered to be your head, then she shall become your head. If ordered to be your legs, then she shall become your legs. This young lady’s will, this young lady’s knowledge, and this young lady’s efforts shall eternally be devoted to your lordship. Lord, I only request of you to bestow upon this young lady a small freedom.”
“I sincerely vow that I will protect thy freedom.”
I gripped Miss Farnese’s hand and stood her up.
Though this was nothing more than a formal verbal promise, this was also the first promise to be established between myself and this girl.
I could not treat it with negligence.
“Dantalian, rank 71st Demon Lord, as the sacred and inviolable representative that symbolizes absolute dignity, and as a member in an order of 72, who rules over all demons, I shall promise: Thy devotion shall be rewarded. Thy loyalty shall be honored. Thy mistakes shall be forgiven. People that hold animosity towards thee shall thus be mine enemies. The houses that had led thee into ruin, thus the House of Medici in Florence, the House of Sforza in Milan, the House of Agilolf in Pavia— and if thou so desires, then even the House of Farnese in Parma. By any means necessary, I shall avenge thee.”
Did my promise come off as a surprise?
Miss Farnese blinked her eyes.
“Are you sane? They are authorities that have entire kingdoms perfectly under their control. Certainly, they are the ones that contributed in this body’s fall into slavery, but……”
“Do not worry. I shall not repeat my vow.”
“I shall drown the archduke of Florence in the ocean, I shall execute the duke of Milan by puncturing 36 holes into his body, I shall decapitate the count of Pavia and display his head at a crossroad, and finally, I shall leave the fate of the duchy of Farnese in your hands. 10 years. No. I shall achieve your revenge on all these people within 9 years.”
“How’s that? If it’s this much then does my intent not come across clearly?”
“……By the looks of it, it seems this young lady has decided to serve under a preposterous lord.”
Laura De Farnese lightly shook her head.
“This is troubling. If you’re to present me with this many vows then it would be unfair. This young lady shall make one more promise.”
“Aah. If your lordship truly achieves revenge on this young lady’s behalf, then, I, Laura De Farnese, will more than gladly devote even my freedom to you. I will become your slave on my own volition, and happily be your lordship’s possession.”
“Excellent. Swearing on the River of Styx.”
“Swearing on the River of Styx.”
I lightly kissed Miss Farnese’s forehead.
The scent of dirt was strong since she was unable to wash for a long period of time , but for some reason I was fine with it.
It felt like I had gained a little sister who was a spitting image of myself.
While I was at it, I gave her a hug. Miss Farnese’s small body came into my arms. She did not resist. Rather, she leaned her head against my chest. How cute—.
“There is something this young lady is curious about, milord.”
“Where exactly do you plan to use this young lady? Truthfully, this young lady has no talent in politics. Albeit, this young lady considers her ability to acquire and interpret studies to be an inborn talent and can confidently boast it.”
“Ah. I plan to make you into my acting general. From now on, you shall repel foreign enemies as the supreme commander of my forces.”
“This young lady as the general?”
Miss Farnese’s voice became slightly higher.
It was probably because it was a role that she wasn’t expecting at all.
In the original history, the time that Laura De Farnese’s genius regarding military warfare bloomed was 10 years from now. It was after Count Roswell died of poisoning and she had competed for the authority over the count’s house. Until then, Laura De Farnese did not know what her true talent was.
I was going to wake up that monster inside of her 10 years early.
“What? Was this out of your expectations?”
“Obviously. Although this young lady has read many art of war manuals, this young lady’s talent regarding military warfare is most likely non-existent. War is not something an amateur should step forward in. This young lady believes that it’s a task that must be evaluated very thoroughly before assigning to someone. Rather than that, this young lady recommends something like a curator of a library……”
You were only saying that because you didn’t understand yourself fully.
In a tactical battlefield, if you were to face an enemy with the same amount of troops as yourself, your chances of winning was 100%. If your forces were smaller by 3/10, then you had an 80% chance of victory. If your forces were smaller by 1/2 then 60%. You were an extraordinary commander that grabbed hold of victory with these chances no matter what.
Even the hero had to mobilize an army 3 times the size of your own in order to defeat you. Laura De Farnese, you were the symbol of both fear and nightmare on the continent. Just by the mere news that you were participating in the battle would make countless number of cities raise their white flag in surrender.
A girl loved by the Goddess of War.
No, the Goddess of War who had become a girl.
That was the girl in front of me who was tilting her head.
“Trust my discerning eyes. You’ll shine brighter when holding the baton in a battlefield than you would reading books. I’ll make it so that history will remember your name.”
“Mm. This young lady is strangely being filled with confidence……”
Miss Farnese sent me a dubious look.
“To assign a 16-year-old lady to military affairs, it’s an unheard of allocation of personnel. Although this young lady believes that it’s beyond foolish, your lordship’s resolve is very stern. Even if this young lady ends up screwing up the military affairs, do not reproach this lady too much, okay?”
“You’re quite the cynic. I will say this again. Believe in me.”
While lightly patting Miss Farnese’s head, I took out a scroll parchment from my coat and tore it apart. Once I did, a red flame appeared and shot into the sky.
Time to escape.
The flame exploded like a firework. The guards that were standing night watch must have seen it. The slave market slowly became rowdy. The security forces were moving around desperately trying to find the culprit who had shot the flare.
“……Hey! Where’d that flare……”
“……Damn it, it’s from Methoranum’s side……”
“……Cause those loaded pricks are out somewhere throwing their money……”
In the distance, we could hear people shouting and giving orders urgently.
Moments later, a group of four to five guards came rushing towards us. The torches they were holding illuminated the surroundings. The guards then noticed that Miss Farnese was outside of her cage.
“Hey! Why is a slave outside without permission?”
One soldier showed a bitter face. His eyes were full of caution. If need be, he’d probably stab me if he had to.
I put a smooth smile on my lips as I told them to calm down.
“I am a friend of that merchant from Methoranum lying over there. I was checking the quality of the slave with Sir Giacomo, but he had accidentally tore a magic scroll during the process. I apologize for starting a ruckus in the middle of the night, gentlemen.”
The soldiers glanced down at Giacomo Petrarch who was on the floor. Giacomo Petrarch was still sleeping like a log.
“What do you mean by checking the slave’s quality?”
“Well. If I were to give you a demonstration, then it’s this.”
I kissed Laura De Farnese’s nape.
And with my right hand I glided it over her body and smiled.
The guards opened their eyes wide as they gaped at us.
“In a few days, this slave will be sold to Count Roswell in the Kingdom of Brittany. The honorable Count specifically ordered for a luxurious sex slave. But gentlemen, would it not be a big deal if the slave turned out to be frigid?”
“T-That is so, but……”
“Aah. Be it a big deal or not. As you all may know, the Methoranum merchant is rather young so he’s quite ignorant in regards to this type of thing. That’s why, as his friend, I was kindly doing the check up for him.”
The soldiers exchanged glances with one another. It was apparent that they were conflicted. They wanted to arrest the culprit that had fired the flare, but at the same time, they were worried that they might be disrupting a very important task.
“Regardless, this is all work for the honorable count. I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but I’ll let you all in on a secret. Count Roswell’s name is quite high up in the kingdom for his perverted hobby. If by any possibility, the slave is unable to satisfy Count Roswell then who knows what punishment will befall us.”
It was convenient to use prestige in a situation like this. Count, count, count, by uttering this word repetitively I could scare off these guards. If you guys mess with me then a noble is going to be upset, you know? Are you okay with that? I was half threatening them like this.
“Ah, okay okay. But be careful with the flares, will you? There’s a chance that the market will get noisy.”
The soldiers took a step back. For commoners like them, a count was an authority far above their reach. Naturally they wouldn’t want to unnecessarily provoke someone like that.
Anyway, they should be arriving to pick me up soon……
The guards were hesitating.
“Sir. That, uh, for at least security reasons we have to stay here. There’s a rule that 2 soldiers must stick as supervisors whenever a slave is out of their cage.”
“Mm? You can stand guard outside the quarters.”
The soldiers gave a dopey laugh.
Their hostility was gone but now appeal had appeared out of nowhere. I didn’t understand why they were suddenly behaving like that. If males tried to act cute and appealed towards me, then all that’d do was make my stomach churn. They should show some consideration to my health.
The men sheathed their swords and rubbed their hands together.
“If possible, while you’re checking the quality of the flower can we watch from the side? Hehe, to tell you the truth, we often bantered with our friends about having our way with that little missy.”
My face ended up distorting by their honest comment.
The way these guards were squirming their bodies while pleading made them appear like dogs wagging their tails, which made it more unpleasant. Why were all men perverts no matter what time period?
“No, well. I too am a man so it’s not like I don’t understand how you all feel, but…… please leave obediently. I’m not an exhibitionist.”
“Goodness. Sir! Don’t be like that. Even if we’re standing as guards in a slave market, there are many things we are unable to do! Whenever a pretty lady walks around in the nude, all we can do is watch like statues while the thoughts, ‘So that’s a woman’ and ‘So that’s a hole’ goes through our heads. Is this what a person’s life is supposed to be like? Yeah?”
I was being told about a predicament that I never had any concern for……
Truthfully, I wanted to ask why I should care……
The soldiers continued whining with a distressed expression on their faces.
“There’s no place in this area to get any release, and it’s always standing, damn it. Prostitutes don’t do business here because they’re afraid that they’d be captured and turned into slaves. And even if we wanted to go to Pavia to let out our stress, we don’t have any spare time to go. Sir. No, boss! We aren’t asking if we can partake in it, we simply want to quietly watch on the side!”
I suddenly became the boss of these men who I was meeting for the first time.
I scratched the back of my head.
At that moment, something came up in my head. Lapis Lazuli’s face. As soon as I remembered the time that Lala had prevented me from killing the old lady and the maid, my mind slightly felt uneasy.
Should I do that? I’ll show some mercy here.
“……Gentlemen. After hearing your stories I feel sorry and pity for you. Though I also feel a bit of scorn, that’s still humane so it’s fine. That’s why I’ll specially spare your lives. Okay? Let’s settle everything with this.”
“—Take care of them.”
I waved my hand.
The guards tilted their heads in confusion, and at that moment.
The witches that were on stand by above us quickly descended and hit the backs of the guards’ necks. With an ‘Ack!’ all 5 men collapsed at the same time. The witches’ movements were efficient.
The witches gracefully dismounted from their brooms. 11 of the elite witches, the Berbere Sisters all knelt down at once in perfect sync.
“Oh sacred and inviolable representative that symbolizes absolute dignity, member in an order of 72, who rules over all demons. The servants of Goddess Selene has received your great lordship’s call and have presented ourselves.”
“Glad to see you all. But Humbaba, have we not known each other for the past month now? Are you not being too ceremonious?”
I spoke facetiously towards the leading witch.
“I worry that your jaw will fall off every time you give that long-winded speech of yours about sacred and inviolable whatever. From now on just refer to me as lord and omit all that civility procedures.”
“Ahaha. I understand, lord. If that’s your order.”
The head witch smiled broadly.
Her platinum blonde hair was tied into two pig tails and lightly flapped like a pair of bunny ears. I didn’t know by what principle they were moving with, but it was charming. For someone who looked like that to be a skilled soldier who also partook in a massive war 3 times, that was a bit unfair.
“Now then, everyone has been gathered here, Lord! Please give us your command. As long as your lordship pays the appropriate amount, we will even cut off our hair and weave it into silk.”
It was a saying in the demon world that meant that they will be liberal with their humble services.
I pulled Laura De Farnese closer to me.
“Turn this place into Hell.”
“Aha? By ‘Hell’, does your lordship mean?”
“I can smell a scent somewhere. It is the smell of fat emanating from disgusting masses of flesh. It is the smell of greed and hypocrisy.”
Matching the rhythm, I spoke festively.
“If they are pigs, then it would only be appropriate for them to behave like pigs and oink in a pigsty, and yet, why are they striding so boldly along the streets? What are you to do when these pigs are arrogantly trying to imitate people and shove their noses everywhere?”
“Naturally, you have to imprint onto them that they are pigs!”
The witches responded energetically.
“Only people can possess slaves. It seems those runts are arrogantly going against the moral of beasts and trying to handle slaves.”
“Please give us the order.”
The witches shouted together in one delighted voice.
“We shall make this place into a slaughterhouse tonight!”
“Yes. The command that I shall order is slaughter.”
I took a bag of coins from inside my coat and tossed it.
The head witch snatched the pouch containing 100 gold coins. She must have felt how heavy it was. A bright smile bloomed on the witch’s face.
“Slaughter those bastards without giving them the chance to even scream. This is not murder. Do not let your conscience weigh down your heart and hesitation take over your hands. As you are lords of all creation, with the authority granted to you all by the Goddesses, slaughter these livestock for our extensive cause.”
“As you command, our lord!”
In a single stroke, the witches got back onto their brooms and flew upwards.
Massive fireballs then rose up into the sky and plummeted down over the slave market. The flames exploded and pillars of fire shot upwards. Humans screamed. The massacre has begun.
The soldiers panicked and tried to retaliate, but it was in vain. The only type of troops that could go against Aerial Mage Forces were the same Aerial Mage Force. It’d be a different matter if they had many archers, but the guards in the slave market mainly consisted of foot soldiers equipped with swords. What a shame. You cannot defeat witches that are flying in the sky with mere swords. Just obediently be slaughtered like animals.
The security forces quickly fell. Gunpowder rained down from the sky and the witches spread fire magic over it. The slave market instantly turned into a sea of flame.
“R-Run away! Get out of here!”
After the organized resistance forces were eliminated, everything else became nothing more than a turkey hunt. While laughing with joy, the witches killed the guards and civilians indiscriminately. Their faces were full of leisure. This was not a battle. As I had said before, it was a slaughter.
Laura De Farnese muttered.
With interested eyes, she was chasing the movements of the witches in the sky. It seems she felt absolutely nothing for the civilians that were being slaughtered. Indeed, she was a human with a messed up head.
“I had read in an art of war manual that a single well-trained platoon of Aerial Mage Forces could win against an entire regiment of spearmen. After seeing it with this young lady’s own eyes, she understands. That it’s impossible for only infantrymen to defend against Aerial Demon Forces.”
“They’re the Berbere Sisters. One of the most elite troops in the demon world.”
“Berbere Sisters? Is that not the name of the unit that had a very active role in the Demon Lord’s forces during both the 7th and 5th Mercurian War?”
Oh, did she know of them?
Miss Farnese made an exclamation while staring up at the sky.
“To be able to see the elite troops that I’ve only seen in history books with my very own eyes…… This is quite inspiring. They are the living witnesses of history with over 250 years worth of tradition maintained inside of them. I wish to converse with them later on.”
“Uh…… If you act as my general then the Berbere Sister will soon be under your command.”
“What? Is that true!?”
Miss Farnese’s eyes shined brightly.
A very small light had returned to her dead fish eyes. Miss Farnese was clenching her small fists. It felt like a fan who was getting excited because they had just met their favorite idol.
“This is wonderful. No, this is quite wonderful! It’s an opportunity ask in person how people 250 years ago lived. All sorts of information that you can’t learn from books…… Ah, is that it!?”
Did she realize something?
Miss Farnese placed her hand on her chin and started to mutter seriously.
“……Demons usually live for hundreds of years. Just by that very fact they are no different from history books. If this young lady were to become the supreme commander, then she could use her authority to call for these demons whenever she wanted…… Is that so, is that what becomes possible. There was this kind of merit!”
It seems the Miss was able to find her own kind of charm from the position of general.
Mm. Although it sounded a bit absurd, the variety of meanings given from a job differed from person to person. I will not meddle in this matter.
“My lord! This young lady would like to know beforehand how much authority she will gain as an acting general.”
Miss Farnese had spoken in an obviously bright voice.
I chose the exact words she wanted to hear.
“I’ll be entrusting everything to you. The commandership, the judicial power within the troops, and even the authority over life and death, I shall gift this all to you.”
“T-That’s quite wonderful……slurp.”
Laura De Farnese wiped the drool from the side of her mouth.
At the moment, I could only see her as a simple pervert rather than a daughter of a duke’s family.
It seems this Miss normally maintained her cold and calm attitude, but when the topic involved something in her field of interest, she lost her mind.
Isn’t this completely a history otaku……? No, let’s call her a history enthusiast. Consider Miss Fernese’s dignity and honor.
“I shall pledge allegiance once more, my lord! Be it an acting general or anything else, leave it to this young lady. This young lady shall wipe out every last enemy that gets in your lordship’s way. As long as milord bestows upon this young lady commandership and judicial power!”
Miss Farnese grabbed onto my hand.
As soon as she did so, a message popped up.
[Laura De Farnese has been recruited as a subordinate.]
[The degree of loyalty will appear in Laura De Farnese’s status.]
[Unstable loyalty. The other party purely regards you as a lord contractually. The other party can betray you at any time.]
I smiled wryly.
After seeing the notice window appear at last, I became certain. That to this girl a grandiose position was of no importance. As long as it could satisfy her hobby or not. Only that could gain her interest.
That was fine.
A person with this sort of personality will not betray you unexpectedly. The contract was firm as long as the give and take principle was kept.
10 minutes since the slave market was turned into Hell.
Lapis Lazuli approached with 6 hired soldiers besides her. Despite the area around her being a sea of flame, Lala’s face was still cold. I happily welcomed her.
“Ooh, Lala. My love. How did it go?”
“We set the guard post on fire and took care of the 36 ‘prey’ that came running out of the main gate. There are no enemies that succeeded in escaping.”
“Well done. On a slim chance, we can’t have witnesses after all.”
While the witches were terrorizing the slave market from above, Lapis Lazuli took the mercenaries to assault the guard post. You could call it a small-scale feint operation. In any case, we were able to successfully clean out the slave market.
“During the suppression, three friendly forces fell in battle. Regardless of that, your highness. Please introduce the lady that is besides your highness to this one.”
“Ah, right. This is Miss Laura De Farnese that I told you about before. From now on, you shall help with domestic affairs, while Miss Farnese will help with my diplomatic affairs. I do hope that you two can cooperate together like a two-horse carriage.”
“This one understands.”
Lapis Lazuli lowered her head mechanically.
“This one’s name is Lapis Lazuli. Born between a Humbaba succubus and a no named human, this one is a half-breed. As his highness Dantalian’s grand chamberlain, this one holds the position of chamberlain and high steward. This one will be in your care.”
“Mm. This young lady is Laura De Farnese. I may be a bit weird in the head whenever I see something related to history, but do take care of me as well.”
Miss Farnese approached Lapis and put out her right hand.
Lapis Lazuli slightly creased her brows.
“This one apologizes, but this one is a half-breed peasant.”
An outcast was not allowed to come in contact with others.
It was an unwritten rule that was used by both humans and demons.
Despite that, Miss Farnese tilted her head side to side.
“Mm? Aah, it’s fine. It doesn’t matter. This young lady is also a love-child of a slave. I’m the daughter that was born when my father, the duke, raped my mother who was a slave. If you were to quibble about this young lady’s social status then it is not a bloodline that you can go anywhere bragging about, so please do not refuse.”
Everyone became silent by the sudden bombshell.
She was a child born by a slave being raped? Were you telling me that she wasn’t an illegitimate child gained from a normal servant? As we looked at her with an astonished gaze, Miss Farnese uttered an ‘Ah’ and spoke.
“Oh right. What this young lady had just said is a secret. This young lady is known as the daughter of a servant publicly in order to maintain the House’s reputation. This young lady’s birth mother was poisoned the very day she was born. From then on a nanny took care of this young lady. That person is the one publicly known as this lady’s mother.”
“That’s information that wasn’t written on the report……”
I spoke bitterly.
Even in that kind of secret wasn’t revealed.
While we were abhorring the thought of how shady and dark aristocracy was, Miss Farnese took both of Lala’s hands and shook them energetically.
“Since this young lady is the junior, please guide this young lady through many things. Is it fine to call you big sister Lazuli from now on?”
“…… It is fine to refer to this one by anything.”
“Mm. Then I shall call you big sister. Big sister Lazuli.”
Lapis Lazuli lowered her brows as if she was perplexed.
It was my first time seeing Lala be troubled by someone other than myself. It was somewhat amusing.
Hm? Lapis Lazuli gave a sideways glance towards my direction. She did not say anything out loud, but rather, moved her lips so that only I could understand.
‘It seems your highness recruited a girl that’s just like your highness.’
‘No. I won’t deny it, but I’m not as unruly as she is. I’m much more docile.’
If you got onto the level of Lala and I, then communication by only lip movements was possible.
‘Is it this one that’s misunderstanding the meaning of the word docile? Or does your highness have an arrow going through your highness’ head?’
‘This one is at her limit taking care of your highness alone. But for there to exist in the world another person who is similar to your highness? There’s a limit to nightmares. From now on, please take care of Miss Farnese yourself, your highness.’
That was strange. It felt like the way she was treating me was slowly getting worse……
Did I really deserve to receive this sort of abuse from my vassal merely because I’d spend my time sleeping for 12 hours, sharing intimacy for 4 hours, and working for 8 hours everyday? No matter how you saw it, this was a diligent schedule. Lapis Lazuli was being too fastidious. This forever-on-her-period succubus.
Well, the plan itself ended without a hitch. We should start making our way back now. I succeeded in taking Laura De Farnese under my wing and got rid of all the witnesses. It was a happy ending.
“Your highness. Please wait a second.”
It was right before I got on the backseat of a witch’s broom.
Lapis Lazuli had called for me and was pointing towards a certain direction. Wondering what the problem was, I looked towards the area she was pointing at and saw Giacomo Petrarch and the delightful bunch of guards sleeping there.
“There are still survivors. Please take care of them.”
“Aah. Those humans are fine. I left them alive on purpose.”
Lapis Lazuli tilted her head with a face that appeared as if she didn’t understand.
“This one apologizes, but this one is unable to grasp what your highness’ intentions are. Is there any other benefit your highness gains for leaving survivors?”
“There are no benefits. I’m merely leaving them alive because I want to.”
“That sleeping young man over there is Giacomo Petrarch. He’s a rather pure fellow that was dropped into this savage era. Those kinds of humans must live. They leave hope in this world like a blank sheet of paper.”
At that moment, something strange happened.
Contrary to coming to an understanding like I expected her to come to, the doubt on Lapis Lazuli’s face had grown further.
“…… Then what about the other humans?”
“It was too pathetic to keep watching those fools, so I bestowed upon them mercy. They’re quite the lucky fellows. If they had behaved more unpleasantly then their heads would have flown off.”
Lapis Lazuli stared at me.
In her eyes that were as dark as the ocean depths, not even a single ounce of emotion could be seen.
Shortly after, Lala nodded.
“……Is that so. This one understands. Miss Humbaba, please take Miss Farnese and the hired soldiers to the back entrance of the slave market and wait there.”
Because Lapis Lazuli had suddenly given an order to the witches, the head witch asked back.
“Go to the back entrance first?”
“Yes. There is something that his highness and this one must discuss in private. Since other people cannot be allowed to overhear, please take responsibility and lead everyone away, Miss Humbaba.”
“Eeh. But our duty to escort his lordship……”
“Do not worry. It will not take long.”
The head witch turned to look at me. Her eyes appeared as if they were asking me ‘Should we do as the succubus had ordered?’. I didn’t know exactly what was going on, but I took Lala’s side for now.
“Carry out the grand chamberlain’s order.”
Establishing a vassal’s authority in front of the other subordinates was important. There was nobody who would follow a king that disrespected his vassals.
The witches took to the night sky and flew off.
The only ones remaining in the ruins of the slave market was now just Lazuli and myself.
I tilted my head.
“What’s the problem all of a sudden? You didn’t even consult with me beforehand.”
Lapis Lazuli didn’t respond.
It could have been my imagination, but her complexion looked like it had become colder.
As her silence grew longer, the anxiety in my chest spread as well. It almost felt as if a caterpillar was slowly crawling over the surface of my heart.
I called out to her in a low voice.
Instead of giving a response, Lapis Lazuli started to walk. It wasn’t a fast pace. With slow, but very distinctive steps, she approached Giacomo Petrarch and the guards.
Lapis Lazuli unsheathed one of the guards’ swords.
“Wait, Lala. What are you……”
Without giving me the chance to stop her.
Lapis Lazuli swung the sword and stabbed into a guard’s neck.
The blade dug sharply into human flesh.
Lapis Lazuli did not stop there. After twisting the blade free, she immediately stabbed another guard. From a passed out state, the guards fell into an eternal slumber in an instant. By the time I could barely make out the situation that was happening before me, Lapis Lazuli had committed her third murder.
“What are you doing, Lazuli!?”
“Doing what must be done.”
“What must be done……?”
Even for myself, who usually never fell into panic, I couldn’t recover my senses as quickly in this situation.
“What does that mean? Explain it so I can understand!”
Despite having obviously heard my shout, Lapis Lazuli did not stop her sword. The sharp edge of the blade slit the throat of the fourth guard. Blood sprayed out like a fountain and covered Lala’s white skin with dirty blood.
“You…… Stop right this instant!”
“This one apologizes, but this one cannot follow that order.”
“Lapis Lazuli, I am warning you. If you move even a single hair, if you ignore my order once more, I swear on Zeus! I will personally tear off your flesh!”
After killing off the final guard.
Lapis Lazuli silently turned to look at me.
The blood stench silence weighed down heavily around us.
Unsure of what to say, my lips shook. I couldn’t understand the other person’s behaviour at all.
……The plan had finished without a hitch. We had obtained a satisfying success. After covering up the incident here in the slave market as something another organization had done, we were going to leave casually. Subsequently to traversing across the continent and returning back to my Demon Lord castle, that was when the true preparation for battle was going to begin. And everything following after that was going to go by beautifully.
“……Why are you going against my orders? The operation is over. Everything is going smoothly just as planned. What are you discontent with? Why are you exercising this pointless slaughter?”
My voice shook because of the sense of betrayal.
The reason why I had spared these guards, who I originally planned to kill, was solely because I was being considerate of Lapis Lazuli. She disliked pointless killing. That’s why I had gone against my own preference to barely bring out mercy.
And yet, why?
Lapis Lazuli opened her mouth.
“Your highness. Please stop messing around.”
“What did you say?”
“Pointless slaughter? Please explain to this one if any of these deaths are pointless.”
Lapis Lazuli gestured around herself.
Everything was set ablaze. The only things that remained standing were the iron frames of cages. Below those were corpses and piles of flesh burning in the inferno.
“Your highness had ordered for us to slaughter the guards, the civilians, and even the slaves without discrimination. The reason is clear. In order to not leave evidence of your highness’ visit here.”
Lapis Lazuli gazed at me.
“Solely for that reason, 150 humans and 50 demons died tonight. But to come this far and now want to spare 6 people? This one is unable to understand no matter how hard this one tries. So please, your highness, explain to this foolish one.”
“Is there any pointless death here?”
A quiet question.
And at the same time, an endlessly cold comment.
“The lord Dantalian that this one had sworn loyalty to is a cold-hearted and ruthless individual. If by a rare chance he were to be threatened, his highness is thorough enough to not treat even the smallest of threats lightly. Where did that person go? Where did this one’s lord disappear to?”
“No. That’s not it. I was……”
“Has your highness lost your vision? After the outbreak of the Black Death, did becoming one of the richest Demon Lords on the continent put your highness’ mind at ease? Your highness. Mercy and generosity is a privilege for only the strong. The weak does not have the right to show mercy. Has your highness Dantalian already become powerful?”
Lapis Lazuli spoke flatly in all respect.
With emotionless eyes.
She stared straight at me.
For some reason, that gaze froze my heart.
“This one shall list all of the strong people that she knows of. Rank 1st, Demon Lord Baal is powerful enough to start a massive war on his own. Rank 2nd, Demon Lord Agares is strong enough to annihilate an entire army by himself. Rank 5th Demon Lord Marbas controls the political world, rank 8th Demon Lord Barbatos has immortal warriors loyal to her, and rank 9th Demon Lord Paimon has all the support from every citizen in the demon world. This one shall ask. What does your highness Dantalian have?”
I have gold.
I have nothing but gold.
“Your highness had promised this one that she’ll be able to enjoy to the fullest the greatest of authority. That is fine. This one will tell your highness clearly. The level of authority that your highness currently has is still at the very bottom. Lord Dantalian. Is your highness already pleased that your highness has become a person of power?”
I couldn’t answer.
Lapis Lazuli turned her back and lifted the sword once more.
After killing all five of the guards, the only person remaining was Giacomo Petrarch.
The young man with a foolishly pure soul.
I forced my mouth to move.
“……Lazuli. That’s not what I intended. I simply thought it’d be okay to show generosity every once in awhile. Is that not what you wanted from me?”
Lapis Lazuli stopped.
She turned her head to gaze at me.
Hoping to resolve the misunderstanding, I spoke.
“It’s true. Did you not stop me when I tried to kill your mother and punish that maid? That’s why I judged that you wouldn’t dislike this.”
“That is incorrect.”
Lapis Lazuli shook her head.
“That is perfectly incorrect, Lord Dantalian. It seems your highness still does not know what kind of person this one is. This one is disappointed.”
“If your highness thinks that this one is similar to that of a middle-class maiden, then your highness is heavily mistaken. This one shall show your highness clearly what kind of person this one is.”
Lapis Lazuli raised the sword high into the air.
[Lapis Lazuli’s affection went down by 1.]
She swung down the blade.
The sword landed on the exact center of Giacomo Petrarch’s neck. Again, Lapis Lazuli swung the blade. Once. Twice. The blade slashed down without end. Even though the person had already died instantly, Lapis Lazuli did not stop. Blood spurted out and drenched her body with blood.
[Lapis Lazuli’s affection went down by 1.]
“Stop it, Lazuli.”
[Lapis Lazuli’s affection went down by 1.]
“Is blood not getting on your face? You can stop now……”
[Lapis Lazuli’s affection went down by 1.]
Like a dog chasing its shadow.
She continued hacking away at the corpse.
Each time she did, it felt like a part of my mind was torn out.
I wonder how much time had passed.
Lapis Lazuli had ceased.
The sound effect that kept ringing like crazy a moment ago could no longer be heard.
Name: Lapis Lazuli
Stamina: E rank
Power: D rank
Defense: F rank
It was because Lapis Lazuli’s affection had hit 0.
Because it had reached the point where it could drop no further, it had become quiet.
She bent down and picked something up.
It was Giacomo Petrarch’s head.
“Please look, your highness.”
Lapis Lazuli spoke.
“Remember the expression on this man’s face. Remember the white of his eyes and his stupidly opened mouth. Look at his unsightly demise after dying by this one’s hands so easily. If your highness ever forgets that your highness is still weak, then your highness will be forced to remember by someone else.”
“Who that someone is could end up being Paimon or Barbatos. In that moment, the face that your highness will make will be no different to this man’s face.”
The flame burning brightly to the side reflected off of Lapis Lazuli.
The light illuminated her body and dropped a pitch black shadow on the other side of her.
She was the center point. With her in the middle, the light and shadow was split in half.
Lapis Lazuli stood upright in the exact center. Doing so, she was demanding for me to do the same.
“Please etch this moment into your highness’ brain.”
Withstanding a long moment of silence.
I was barely able to spit out my words.
“Yes, your highness. Please speak.”
“You are a devilish woman.”
As if it was obvious.
Lapis Lazuli nodded.
A dark crimson drop of blood slid down her slender jaw and dripped.
“Until now, what did your highness consider this one to be?”
▯Weakest Demon Lord, Rank 71st, Dantalian
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 9, Day 20
Niflheim, Governor’s Palace
Wax dripped down a candle.
It was night. The sky outside the window was already dark.
I spoke while gazing at the softly burning candle.
“I wonder what I had done wrong.”
“While traveling through the air from Pavia to the Empire of Habsburg, and all the way to my castle in the Black Mountain, Lapis and I did not share a single word. My head was in turmoil.”
I raised my head.
Barbatos was seated on the sofa to the other side of myself.
Her brows were knitted in the shape of 八, and her lips were retracted as if she was going to say something, except, Barbatos was unable to utter a single word. At some point while listening to my story, she had forgotten about drinking alcohol and was only staring at my face.
At a loss for words.
“I had definitely resolved myself. That if Lapis stepped out of line one more time, then I would show her her place. But once it actually happened…… be it rage or whatever, every emotion disappeared and left behind only confusion.”
What exactly was Lapis hoping for.
“It was because I couldn’t understand. Lapis stopped me when I had tried to kill the old lady. She had stopped me again when I tried to kill that maid. Is it not weird? Isn’t it? Barbatos, this is abnormal.”
I raised the corners of my mouth.
I intended to smile but my mouth ended up twitching instead.
To Barbatos, my current state must appear incredibly unseemly.
As it was proof that my emotion was escaping my control, I left it alone.
……Right now, it was much better off like this.
“If she wished for me to be a ruthless villain. If Lapis’ request was for me to become a ruthless villain……Then she would have left me alone. When I tried to kill that old hag and when I was about to kill that maid. It would have been right to have left me to do what I wanted in those moments. That way her actions would have made sense, right?
“Why did she request for me to show mercy at some times, and then request for me to be violent at others? What did she want from me? I started to become depressed whenever I thought about this……”
I covered my eyes with my hand.
“Barbatos. Believe me. I intended to consider whatever Lapis requested of me. If Lapis asked of me to become a merciful and generous lord, then I would have seriously complied. If she asked of me to become a cruel tyrant, then I would have gladly accepted that as well. I was prepared. I was prepared to walk down that path with her. It’s true.”
“However, I can’t be both. That’s impossible. Walking down 2 different paths at the same time is simply not possible. Then what other option remained? Hm? Move according to Lapis’ whim, was that the only option left?”
“That’s impossible as well. That’s the most absurd action I could possibly take. Even I have a last line. To spare people when Lapis tells me to, to kill people when Lapis tells me to…… I cannot become a puppet like that for her. Never.”
That meant death for me.
With no doubt, the relationship between Lala and myself was collapsing.
Even after returning to my castle, we did not share a single conversation. Our shared bedroom life naturally disappeared as well.
In preparation for the army of 2,000 that was going to invade, we did make plans and arrangements, but that was it.
Words exchanged were kept at a minimum.
Technical and business-like conversations.
Excluding those, no other words were shared between us.
Time went by helplessly.
“……Let’s rest a bit, Dantalian.”
The sneer and contempt that she showed initially was nowhere to be seen now.
There was a faint sorrow and clear hesitation left on her face.
The reason her sorrow was faint was because she was doing her best to not show sympathy for me, and the reason her hesitation was clear was because she was holding herself back from giving any rash advice. Just from that expression alone, I could tell that Barbatos was a good woman.
“You idiot. It’s already night. You’ve been talking for several hours now. Your voice is cracked and your face looks as rotten as a corpse.”
I blankly took out a hand mirror and looked down at it.
As Barbatos had said, my face was drained like a zombie.
It seems I had excessively gotten immersed into my role.
“Right…… I guess we should rest a bit.”
“Don’t you have anything to drink?”
Barbatos shook the glass which was in her right hand. Her cup was empty. She grinned like an ill-natured child.
“Now that I think about it, isn’t this a funny fellow? Oi, Dantalian. I’ve been listening courteously to your love affairs for a while now, but you can’t even serve me proper alcohol? For a bastard who made a shit ton of money from selling black herbs, what’s with that? If you keep that up, you’re going to put people off.”
She was probably nagging light-heartedly to shift the mood.
I could feel the small consideration coming from the other party.
Indeed, Barbatos is a good woman.
In this tedious life, consideration was like salt. No matter how awfully bland life was, if you added a little salt then it at least became somewhat appetizing. Barbatos knew how to utilize that properly.
“Of course, I knew you would come out like that.”
“Hmm. And what do you mean by that?”
“Wait a moment. I’ll bring something that you’ll surely like.”
I approached a corner of the reception room and took a bottle out of a cabinet. It was a wine bottle. After displaying the bottle to Barbatos with a ‘tadah’, her face froze immediately.
“D-Don’t tell me. That isn’t what I think it is, is it?”
Unlike her usual self, Barbatos’ words shook.
“The most famous region in the demon world to brew luxurious wine, Fire Spring Hell. Among the areas within that region, the highest quality bottle that’s only created once a year in the Count of Lava’s territory. Wine among wines. Made on the 1101st year of Balleleunium, it is wine that was brewed in commemoration of the 2nd Viet war. It’s the genuine product that has aged 400 years.”
“That’s high quality wine that even old man Baal has trouble getting his hands on!”
“I put in some effort.”
To be exact, I used Ivar Lodbrok’s effort.
This was a clear example that showed that having a pushover with many personal connections made life convenient.
“Goddesses, that’s insane! That’s genuine? That isn’t genuine, right!?”
Barbatos was already off the sofa at this point.
Demon Lord Barbatos’ love for wine was well-known.
She considered herself to be the greatest drinker, and the other Demon Lords recognized her as the strongest heavy drinker among them. To her, this wine was like a Holy Grail. Stripping off manners and dignity, she ran towards me.
“Give that to me!”
“Of course. Here.”
I tossed the bottle high into the air.
Lightly, as if I was playing with a ball.
“Do well to catch it nicely on your own.”
“This crazy fucker—!?”
Barbatos instantly utilized magic to grab the bottle which was high in the air. From what I could comprehend, 3 layers of black magic activated at the same time.
First, Barbatos had stepped down onto the room floor and leaped more than 3 meters into the air. A black mist appeared in the empty space near the bottle and wrapped itself around it. Thanks to that, the descent of the bottle slowed down. Following after, an invisible hand grabbed hold of the wine.
If other mages were to witness this scene, then they most likely wouldn’t have been able to hold back their bewilderment. First reason, the fact that 3 layers of magic were activated at the same time. Second reason, the fact that 3 layers of magic succeeded in activating without any chant or incantation whatsoever. And final reason, the fact that this great technique in magic was used merely to grab a single bottle of wine.
Sure, it was obvious that Barbatos didn’t care about what other mages thought of her. Her everything was focused onto that ‘1101st year of Balleleunium’. The magic ability which she had trained and trained throughout the 500 years of her life, in this moment, was used for a glass bottle with a mere 10cm diameter. I wonder if even the Goddesses would be moved by her concentration.
Finally, the bottle came into her hands and she landed safely on the floor.
Barbatos raised the bottle of wine into the air with both arms. Like a basketball player who had succeeded in getting a rebound shot in during a decisive moment.
In this moment, she was without a doubt, the ground ruler.
“Did you see that, fuck! This is the greatness of the fucking rank 8th Barbatos—!”
I unconsciously sent her an applause.
“I’m not really sure, but it seems some amazing acrobatics happened.”
“Dantalian you son of a bitch!”
Barbatos glared at me fiercely.
“Swines like you don’t have the right to even have a drop of this delicacy! How dare you throw this Balleleunium like some child’s toy! Aaaang!?”
It was amazing. For a person who barely looked 13 years old, a terrifying aura was coming off from her glare. If it weren’t for the wine bottle being held desperately in her arms like a treasure, I may have really been scared. Yeah, really.
“For crying out loud! I really can’t believe it. Wine that’s aged 400 years! The brewer, using the most special magic in the world, a magic spell developed specifically for the purpose of preserving wine, would recast the spell every half month. This wine that was preserved through several generations just to barely become the finished product that it is now! For you to throw this wine that isn’t even released in the markets, and only gifted to individuals that the archduke of Fire Spring personally judges to be the most noble and beautiful! To throw it like some son of a bitch! You bastard aren’t even worth the same as the dirt on a crow’s talon!”
I nodded my head.
“I became more certain of how severe of a drunkard you are.”
“I’m not a drunkard. I simply love to drink, you half-wit moron!”
While grinding her teeth, Barbatos looked down at the glass bottle. A black magical energy flowed out from her hands. She must have been checking if the wine was genuine or not through magic.
Barbatos let out a gasp.
Her expression became as slim as the face in Edvard Munch’s .
“Y-You…… If this isn’t the real thing, then really, I won’t leave you alone for the crime of deceiving……”
“I’ll let you have the first sip.”
“But the very first sip…… t-tastes the best, you know?”
“That’s why I’m letting you have it.”
I gave her a big smile.
To her right now, I was an angel.
I probably appeared as radiant as a saint who had received word from the Gods.
“Are we not friends, Barbatos?”
Barbatos gazed this way with touched eyes.
“You might be a son of a bitch, but you’re a really good son of a bitch.”
“……Although I’m considerably distressed on whether to take that as a compliment or not, but for the sake of politeness, I’ll receive it as a compliment.”
“T-This is not the time for that. Wine glass. Where did I leave my wine glass!?”
Barbatos swung her arm around frantically. Once she did, the glass cup that was rolling around on the carpet floor floated right into her hand. Barbatos gulped.
“G-Good, Balleleunium 1101. Show me the scent of your sensual skin.”
“Though I think the thing that’s sensual isn’t the wine, but the inside of your head……”
Barbatos started chanting a spell. I can guarantee that out of all the magic spells I’ve witnessed up until now, this was the most inspiring out of them all. The reason behind this was because this was really an absolutely useless spell. This magic, as a cork-remover-spell, was being chanted by Barbatos purely for the sake of removing the cork. As she muttered the incantation of the spell, the cork slowly inched upwards, until finally, with a ‘pop’ the cork shot out.
Barbatos brought the opening of the bottle to the end of her nose and inhaled.
Ah. That was the face of someone who had lost their mind.
It was like her consciousness had soared off 500 meters into the sky.
Despite not having even tasted the alcohol, Barbatos’ face was already enveloped in bliss.
“S-So Heaven does exist.”
“As the very person who had gifted that to you, I’m quite happy that you’re so pleased by the smell alone. Go ahead and drink it now.”
Barbatos started to tremble with the wine bottle and glass cup in her hands.
“Dantalian, you don’t know the value of this item. How could you drink a treasure? You don’t drink treasures. You aren’t supposed to……”
“I thought you said you liked alcohol. The greatest alcohol is right there. Are you still not going to drink it?”
Barbatos distorted her face in despair.
“What contradiction is this? Because I love alcohol more than anyone else, I desire for the Balleleunium. But because I love alcohol more than anyone else, even more so, I cannot drink the Balleleunium! A paradox! An agony! Is this what life was……!?”
A little further and she’d discover the truth of the universe.
Her highness Barbatos’ charisma was crumbling because of a single bottle of wine.
“Give it here. I’ll just pour it myself.”
Barbatos obediently passed the glass bottle to me.
Following drinking etiquette, I courteously poured the wine with one arm. With a very nervous complexion, Barbatos watched the glass cup be filled with the scarlet liquid. I seriously thought she’d have me executed if I spilled a single drop.
A clear sound resonated as our glass cups collided. As I enjoyed the wine in a relaxed manner, Barbatos stared at me restlessly.
“I-Is it good?”
“Well, of course it’s good.”
“How does it taste, hm? Describe it with as much detail as you can.”
“…… I don’t know why you’re asking me to do that when you can just drink it yourself.”
“Cause it’d be a waste……”
I retract my previous statement.
Barbatos was a hopeless woman.
“Hoo haa. Hoo haa.”
Barbatos started breathing deeply. She even began muttering to herself that ‘this is nothing more than red wine’. I wonder if her muttering had an effect because her complexion became more relaxed. If I were to say something in my own personal point of view, I honestly thought she was crazy.
At last, Barbatos placed her glass on her lips and took a sip of the wine. Her eyes stayed closed for a long period of time. Then, her shoulders started to tremble and she suddenly burst into tears.
“Uwaah…… I did well to stay alive. It was hard times. It was difficult to live these 500 years, but, uwaah, I really did well to live this long.”
Even I couldn’t help but be stunned by this situation.
Barbatos was sipping the wine while shedding warm tears. The surprising thing was, that while she was drinking, the process of taking in the fragrance of the wine through her nose, the process of rolling the wine on her tongue, etc, she devotedly made sure to completely perform all the tasting procedures. Although she was insane, she was rationally insane.
“Give it here.”
Barbatos instantly emptied her glass and forcefully took the bottle from me. Without being able to resist, I passed the bottle to her.
“Heueuk. Heuk, gulp.”
Pour another glass.
“It’s good. It’s so good, fuck.”
And cry again.
Quite the sincere scene was happening before me.
The image of a girl with the outer-appearance of a 12-year-old was bawling as she poured and drank alcohol. If you put it in good terms, it was surreal. If you put it in bad terms, she was considerably like a nut-case.
“Why are you making it unappetizing for others by cursing and drinking? I thought you said it was good.”
“Heueuk. As much as it’s delectable, each time you drink it, the same amount you drink is also disappearing from the total amount. That’s really, truly a fuck. Furthermore, people say that you can’t discuss this feeling with someone who had Balleleunium without shedding tears.”
It was a saying that made you seriously suspicious of the origin……
Anyway, we succeeded in properly shifting the mood between us.
Originally, because of a Demon Lord’s constitution, it was possible to drink as much alcohol as possible and not get drunk. It was thanks to the mana circulating in our bodies that automatically cleaned out the intoxication. However, according to Barbatos, when ‘receiving’ Balleleunium, it was considered a great discourtesy to not get drunk by it. Barbatos had purposely stopped the mana circulation in her body and allowed herself to become intoxicated.
Alcoholics are quite terrifying.
“And so? What happened next?”
Barbatos spoke with a slight redness on her face. It seems she was tipsy at just the appropriate amount.
“After listening to your story, that wasn’t the point when you broke up, right? Then that means there’s another decisive moment. Coolly let everything out, kid. Since I was able to savor the taste of Balleleunium, I’ll take responsibility of you till the very end.”
“That’s quite thankful.”
I smiled bitterly.
“Shall we cheers first?”
“Ooh, Yeah. Cheers!”
As the toasts continued, it grew deeper in the night. Through the window of the reception room, an owl hooted. I was able to move my lips with more ease than before, and Barbatos chimed in with further enthusiasm.
“First, the army invaded my castle.”
“Hou, so the message was the real deal.”
“Aah. Although the number was a bit lacking compared to what was written……”
With a ‘ding’.
The grandfather clock on the first floor of the governor’s palace rang dully.
Notifying everyone that it was midnight.